How I use my Nikon D90 – Part 2 (ISO)

In Part-1, I explained the picture modes that I use with my camera (D90). In this article, I will talk about the ISO settings that I use and explain why.

The native ISO range for D90 is 200-3200.  ISO values lower than 200 and higher than 3200 are in-camera ‘ISO’ adjustments based on the nearest range limit.  The noise level with ISO values greater than 800 is quite noticeable so, I would recommend using lower ISO values, if you have a choice.

You can adjust the ISO sensitivity setting from the shooting menu. I leave the auto control ‘OFF’ and set the sensitivity at 200. When I need to adjust the ISO, I use the ISO button control on the back of the camera.

I rarely use ISO’s greater than 800.  I try to stick with ISO 200 all the time and adjust the aperture/shutter accordingly. But that’s not a rule written in stone. When I use a tripod, I always go with ISO 200, no matter how slow the shutter speed is.

When I don’t use a tripod and when there is little light, I have limited choice over aperture or shutter. In that case, I bump up the ISO to get the correct exposure (remember the exposure triangle?)

When using flash indoor my ISO choice would be 200 or 400 based on the overall ambient light and distance from the subject.

By default, D90 tries to reduce the noise in high ISO images.  You will see this as ‘High ISO NR’ option in settings (NR –noise reduction).  I turned this OFF because, with this option ‘ON’, you will have to wait for the camera to finish processing the image before you can shoot another one. I don’t know about you but, I prefer an image with some noise over a missed shot.

I will cover the white balance settings and other menu adjustments that I use with my D90 in the next article.

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2 Responses to How I use my Nikon D90 – Part 2 (ISO)

  1. Razak says:

    I am a new user of DSLR Nikon D90..just bought the gadget a week ago. I found that after a few shoots, I tend to agree with you that it is more exciting to use M/A/S/P rather than the Auto.

    Your description is very easy to follow and I really like it. Thanks for sharing the tips.


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